A new quantitative method for gunshot residue analysis by ion beam analysis.

Surrey Ion Beam Centre, University of Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK.
The Analyst (Impact Factor: 4.23). 06/2013; DOI:10.1039/c3an00597f
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Imaging and analyzing gunshot residue (GSR) particles using the scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDS) is a standard technique that can provide important forensic evidence, but the discrimination power of this technique is limited due to low sensitivity to trace elements and difficulties in obtaining quantitative results from small particles. A new, faster method using a scanning proton microbeam and Particle Induced X-ray Emission (μ-PIXE), together with Elastic Backscattering Spectrometry (EBS) is presented for the non-destructive, quantitative analysis of the elemental composition of single GSR particles. In this study, the GSR particles were all Pb, Ba, Sb. The precision of the method is assessed. The grouping behaviour of different makes of ammunition is determined using multivariate analysis. The protocol correctly groups the cartridges studied here, with a confidence >99%, irrespective of the firearm or population of particles selected.

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    ABSTRACT: A survey was sent to 80 forensic laboratories in 44 States and two Canadian Provinces concerning methodology in analyzing gunshot residue (GSR) and interpreting the results. Of the 80 surveys, 50 (63%) were returned completed. Questions included standard procedures, collection methods, thresholding problems and specificity of data. These results are compared to a previous survey reported in 1990. Implications for the interpretation and future study of these methods are discussed.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 04/1996; 41(2):195-8. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A review of the scientific papers published on inorganic gunshot residue (GSR) analysis permits to study how the particle analysis has shown its capability in detection and identification of gunshot residue. The scanning electron microscope can be the most powerful tool for forensic scientists to determine the proximity to a discharging firearm and/or the contact with a surface exposed to GSR. Particle analysis can identify individual gunshot residue particles through both morphological and elemental characteristics. When particles are detected on the collected sample, the analytical results can be interpreted following rules of a formal general interpretative system, to determine whether they come from the explosion of a primer or from other possible sources. The particles on the sample are compared with an abstract idea of "unique" GSR particle produced by the sole source of the explosion of a primer. "Uniqueness" is not the only problem related to GSR detection and identification for a forensic scientist. With "not-unique" particles interpretation of results is extremely important. The evidential strength of "not-unique" particles can increase with a more fruitful interpretative framework based on Bayes rule. For the assessment of the value of a GSR in linking a suspect and a crime, it is important to compare two hypothesis: the first can be that of the evidence if the suspect has been shooting in a specific situation, the second that of the evidence if the suspect was not involved in this shooting. This case specific or case-by-case approach is closer to what the court is interested in. The authors consider that a "case-by-case" approach should be followed whenever possible. Research of models and data such as those developed in other trace evidence material (fibres, glass, etc.) using a Bayesian approach is suggested in the interpretation of GSR.
    Forensic Science International 07/2001; 119(2):195-211. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Persistence of gunshot residue (GSR) simultaneously collected from hands, face and hair, and clothing of the shooting person was examined. Samples were collected from five shooters in nine time intervals after a single shoot with a Luger 9 mm pistol, in the range of 0-4 h and examined with scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry. Numbers of particles, frequencies of occurrence of certain compositions of particles, and their sizes in function of the time intervals were inspected. The greatest numbers of particles were observed in samples collected from hands right after shooting, but they decrease quickly with time. In samples collected from the face smaller initial numbers of particles were found, but they lasted at a similar level longer. The estimated half-life times of particles were less than 1 h for samples taken from the hands, over 1 h for clothing and about 2-3 h for the face. In samples collected at longer intervals after shooting, there were particles present of small sizes and irregular shapes. The results demonstrate that including evidence collected from the suspect's face and hair may increase the probability of detection of GSR in cases when the suspect has not been apprehended immediately after the investigated incident.
    Microscopy and Microanalysis 11/2011; 17(6):972-82. · 2.50 Impact Factor


Available from
Aug 7, 2013